War on drugs underway

BANGKOK (TNA): The government has launched a new round of drug suppression in a ceremony presided over by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat last Thursday.

The 90-day “war on drugs”, which kicked off on November 3, is scheduled to last through till the end of January.

In his speech announcing the crackdown, PM Somchai encouraged authorities to devote their full attention to fighting drug trafficking.

PM Somchai said the campaign could be considered a follow-up to an earlier anti-drug campaign launched in the former Thaksin Shinawatra administration, but cautioned that his government would not tolerate extra judicial “silence” killings.

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Allegations of such slayings mired the 2003 campaign against illicit drugs and sparked outrage among human rights activists worldwide.

Human rights groups say at least 2,500 people died during the notorious Thaksin administration campaigns staged in 2003 and 2004.

PM Somchai named Interior Minister Kowit Wattana as chief of the government’s drug suppression and control center, and Justice Minister Somsak Kiatsuranond as its deputy chief.

The premier called on the authorities attached to all government agencies to join together in the 90-day nationwide crackdown on drugs.

Calling the 90-day campaign a national agenda, Gen Kowit said the authorities will focus on suspected drug-dealing areas of metropolitan Bangkok as well as the southern border provinces.

The Office of the Narcotic Control Board plans to seize an estimated 400 million baht in assets owned by suspected drug dealers, especially those arrested in border areas, within this year, the state-run TNA reported

Locally, Phuket Governor Preecha Ruangjan ordered tough operations and measures against narcotic drug activities, and is seeking active participation among local community leaders to tackle the situation, the state-run Andaman News service reported.

Village headmen, or local community leaders, must be invited to participate in preventive programs, he said.

The governor made known his policy after he was briefed on the situation, which found that the number of narcotics-related cases had risen between April and September this year.

Gov Preecha also ordered the provincial anti-narcotic drugs control center to be manned 24 hours a day, linked with the district offices, and ready to mobilize special task units at a moment’s notice.

He also stressed that government officials must not use their positions to bail out suspects in drug arrests. The governor assigned responsible agencies like the provincial Cultural Office to arrange special activities for children and families in order to prevent them from getting involved with drugs.

Phuket News

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